Today being Teacher's day,I have posted here an old story of mine to salute the great teachers 'who inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning in their wards.'
Suneeta was asked by the principal to handle class V that year as Mrs. Alexia who was in charge of this class had resigned. Suneeta found she had one problem boy in her class. She has been in this school for years and never had seen like this child. Kartik was a shy, intelligent and well behaved student. But he paid no attention to what was being taught. She had to call his name thrice or even more whenever she had a question for him. He was always lost in thoughts. He did not mingle with other boys and girls even during play time. Always morose, no one had seen him smile. The other children understandably ignored him. He came to the school in shabby and unpressed clothes. His hair always needed a cut. He wore a much used pair of shoes that needed an immediate replacement. Naturally this disinterest in studies reflected in his performance and he stood at the bottom of the class. Her initial attempts to reprimand the boy by punishments brought no improvement except a hurt in his eyes. Suneeta was a sincere and hardworking teacher. She could not admit defeat in the case of this boy who was otherwise normal.
It was by accident that one Sunday she met Mrs. Alexia in the market. When she broached about this boy to her, Alexia’s eyes became misty as she narrated his story. Kartik was actually the brightest boy in her class, very jovial and a natural leader. He was her favourite child. It all changed when he lost his mother in class IV. His dad whom she had seen once was a good for nothing drunkard. He took no interest in this only child of his and brought a woman to live with him. She too did not take kindly to the boy and made him work for long hours. Mrs. Alexia felt sorry that she could not help the boy as much as she wanted as she had to leave the school.
Suneeta was moved by his sad story. She changed her approach to the boy. She spoke lovingly and encouragingly to him. She could win his confidence only gradually. She shared her lunch with the boy on occasions. She spent more time with pats and praises to bring him up to the level of his class. She persuaded the school management to extend scholarship to him and out of the money bought new dresses and shoes. Her love and compassion paid dividends when he started scoring high marks and was the second in the final examination.
On the last day all children brought the teacher gifts wrapped in multi coloured papers tied with ribbons of assorted colours. Kartik too brought one in a used envelope tied loosely with a twine. She opened it first and saw a pair of cheap ear tops. He said this was his dear mom’s and had saved it from others eyes. He said he had nothing else to give her and pleaded with her to accept the same. She instantly removed the pair she was wearing and wore the one gifted by him. For the first time she saw his face wore a large smile.
Years rolled by and Kartik she learnt was in a college doing MCA. He kept in touch with her once a while always thanking her for her affection and love that filled the void created by his mom’s demise. Suneeta was happy that her efforts to give him confidence, motivation and the love he missed when he was young had worked wonders. She was thankful to god that she realized in time the power that teachers had in imaginatively moulding the lives of the wards under them
It was year later that she got a phone call from Kartik requesting her to accompany him for the University Convocation. She wore his mom’s ear tops he had presented her when he was in class V for the special occasion knowing she was filling his mom’s place. Her joy knew no bounds when he was declared University topper.
Tears started flowing from her eyes when he hugged her and cried “Miss, you had lifted me from the gloom that enveloped me. It is only your steady affection and the efforts to teach me that made a man of me. I see in you my late mom. But for you I would have been a wastrel.”
The thought occurred in Suneeta’s mind that it was only Kartik who opened her eyes to the true role of a teacher. He quietly removed from his coat pocket a jewel box containing dazzling and costly pair of ear studs and implored her to accept this token of his love and gratitude.